Can you be denied a payday loan?

Quick Answer Yes, you can be denied a payday loan. Lenders may deny your application if you’re in bankruptcy, an active member of the military, or if you don't meet their specific criteria. These criteria include having a regular source of income, being of legal age, and having a bank account.

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Tobi Opeyemi Amure • Answer updated on Aug 19, 2023

Fact checked by Steven Hill

Yes, it is possible to be denied a payday loan, even though they're usually more accessible than traditional loans.

Many people have this idea that payday loan lenders will give a loan to just about anyone who walks in, but that's an overstatement. 🙅‍♀️

Learn: Are payday loans easy to get?

Payday loans have some deal-breakers, and here are the major ones you should be aware of:

  • Bankruptcy - If you're actively going through bankruptcy, chances are you'll be turned down. Lenders see this as a red flag, and your application would probably end up in the "denied" pile. It's sad, but it's the reality. 😔

  • Active military - The Military Lending Act prohibits lenders from charging military personnel an interest rate of more than 36% (which is a lot lower than the average payday loan APR). In fact, some payday loan lenders just won't lend to active military personnel at all.[1]

  • Common lender requirements - Of course, each lender will have specific asks, but some of the biggies will be similar (Keep in mind, these asks will also vary from state to state).

    • Age - if you're under the age of 18 or, in some places, 21, sorry, you won't be getting a payday loan. It's not because they don't like your youthful face, but legally, they can't enter into a contract with you.

    • Income - Without a regular source of income, closing the deal on a payday loan will be extremely tough. No income equals no loan, unfortunately. So, if you are looking for work or your income source is irregular, you may need to sit this one out. 🤷‍♂️

    • Bank account - An active bank account is pretty close to a must-have. Typically, a payday loan will be deposited into your bank account, and when your repayment will come out of the same account, so this is an important component.

Learn: What are payday loans used for?

While payday loans are generally easy to get, these situations can lead to a denial. Therefore, it's important to understand these criteria before applying for a payday loan. Remember, payday loans should be a last resort option due to their high costs. Explore other avenues first, and only go this route when it's absolutely necessary.


  1. What is the Military Lending Act and what are my rights? ↩︎

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